Martin Truex Jr. Budweiser Shootout Recap Video (via Michael Waltrip Racing)
CORNELIUS, N.C. – No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. finished 13th in the second 60-lap Gatorade Duel on Thursday at Daytona International Speedway. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver raced up to second in the opening laps, but dropped to 13th after 30 circuits in order to cool down his Toyota Racing Development engine. The NAPA team lost the lead draft after experiencing an issue on pit road and could never regain track position to earn the top-15 result. The NAPA team will line up 26th for Sunday's Daytona 500.
"We really struggled with the temperature and overheating," said Truex who lined up fourth after turning in the seventh-quickest time during Sunday's Coors Light qualifying session. "We really couldn't race. We had to keep air on the nose. It really limited us from doing anything. We couldn't suck up to anyone. We started off good. We got to second and I was just riding there. The temperatures climbed up to 250 so we fought cooling pretty bad. It really handcuffed us from really racing today.
"Our car the other night in the Budweiser Shootout compared to the competition was really good on cooling. Today, it wasn't the case and it seemed like we were not as good. We have some work to do with this car. It was a little bit surprising because we hadn't really fought that all week. We really need to look into it and see what is going on. The next two days will really be important and I'm sure Chad (crew chief - Johnston) will sort it out and get us back into winning contention like we were on Saturday night. I'm glad we had the chance to race today and sort it all out so we will be ready on Sunday for the Daytona 500."
The NAPA Toyota started fourth alongside Jeff Gordon and after two circuits, Truex contended for the race lead to run second to Greg Biffle.
After 10 laps, the NAPA driver turned his attention to his Toyota Racing Development's engine temperature as it rose up to 250 degrees. Despite the challenge, he still ran comfortably in the top-10 to team up with Michael Waltrip Racing's Mark Martin in the draft.
At the halfway mark, Truex raced in ninth. He told crew chief Chad Johnston his NAPA Toyota ran too hot to contend for the victory. Then on lap 40 under green, Truex dove onto pit road with Martin for a two-tire service and fuel. During the stop, the NAPA KNOW HOW pit crew experienced a problem on the right-front tire. The NAPA driver returned to the track in 14th and without a drafting partner. The solo run resulted in the No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota turning in the 13-place effort.